Beige foam fading from the sea’s rich teal
Strokes with pity the sun-burnt sand,
Off-white ash pierced by the anchor of defeat,
And stained by the wrecked stern bleeding,
Crimson spreading rapidly across a shore’s murdered hope.

Tired heels of a broken people
Mark the ash, only to be forever erased
By shaming waves.

Helmets fall, swords clatter to rock,
And he sinks to sliced knees, mourning man’s pride.
And his arms curl ‘round the waist of a woman,
Cheek buried in her chests emanating warmth
Of which the ash between his toes are void.
Empty of men, he cries.
Empty of men.

Three hundred tears rust the iron,
Binding his shattered ankles to his past,
And his past to the anchor.

Six hundred more, nine hundred again,
Until the remnants of lost men are sealed by rust.

Two fingers of a father;
The forearm of a son;
The embrace of miscellaneous gore
Around the waist of a mourning wife,
Speared to the rust of the anchor
And to the flickering memory
Of the time when men had understood
How to be victorious.